Meet the NZ hairdresser of the year

Legendary hairstylist Danny Pato has done it again picking up Australasia’s most prestigious award at Hair Expo 2019, in Sydney last night. A creative genius Pato, co-owner of d&m Hair Design in Auckland has another trophy to add to his collection, for the fourth consecutive year he has claimed the title of NZ Hairdresser of the Year.


The six winning shots from Pato’s Bird Collection. Photographer, Mara Sommer. Illustrator Kelly Thompson. Makeup artist Kiekie Stanners. Stylist Rachel Morton. Collection producer, Ryland Wood.

It's the Grand Prix of the hairdressing industry, and for more than 34 years the Australasian Hair Expo Awards continue to lift the bar when it comes to creativity, diversity, technical skill, and salon business acumen. Taking out the top award again this year for the fourth year in a row, is Auckland stylist and co-owner of d&m Hair Design, Danny Pato picked up his prize in front of a team of 12 international judges from the UK, Canada and the USA including hairdressing royalty such as Sir Trevor Sorbie and TV celebrity stylist Tabatha Coffey last night in Sydney. Pato's stunning bird collection scooped up the top honors, and here he shares his vision for his work, and what it takes to be an award-winning hairdresser.

Pato with TV celebrity stylist Tabatha Coffey who was one of the judges at the 2019 Hair Expo Awards

Pato with TV celebrity stylist Tabatha Coffey who was one of the judges at the 2019 Hair Expo Awards



Congratulations on your win - the fourth in a row at Hair Expo - how does it feel?

I am so grateful, humbled, and honoured to be recognised by my peers, winning this title four years in a row. I am so proud to represent our beautiful country, in an industry I love.

What does it take to be an award-winning stylist?

Passion, drive, experience, vision, and surround yourself with a great team of people.

What do you always strive for in business?

To provide an incredible experience and exceptional results for our clients - each and every day.

What's next for you and your business?

I'm prepping for hair shows later this year in the Philippines and Australia, as well as NZ Fashion Week and the AUT Rookie show.

Working as a hairdresser is hard work, how do you relax and unwind after a day on the salon floor?

Like everyone else, I guess, Netflix. And my husband's cooking when he has time!

What tips do you find yourself sharing with your young stylists?

Don't judge - treat everyone the same.


Where did you get your ideas for your recent bird collection?

It started as a tribute to the significant influence Japan continues to have in the world of design. I wanted to create bold silhouettes and combine them with exotic avian beauty to reference the ancient art of Japanese feminine dress codes, by re-interpreting them with the modern design aesthetic of today.

How long did it take to create this collection?

A few months.

Who was on the team on shoot day?

Photographer, Mara Sommer, and videographer Garth Badger. Illustrator Kelly Thompson, who created the birds, makeup artist Kiekie Stanners, and stylist Rachel Morton. My husband Ryland Wood was the campaign producer. My business partner Michael Sisaengrath, and the incredible models and my fantastic D&M team were also all there on the day.

What are you most proud of?

My baby - our salon d&m hair design.


What are the most exciting hair trends to look out for this winter?

Hair accessories. Bows, ribbons, and clips are making a comeback – even designers like Gucci are making hair clips. 60's big hair. Think Brigitte Bardot and Jackie O. The wet look, using gel or mousse strategically to create shine, or to perfect a ponytail or slick back hair from the face, or to create contrast like a sleek look, and then leaving the rest of the hair natural. The 70s blunt bob. Think Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner. This bob cut suits most people; it's so versatile, the length and style can be adjusted to suit any hair type and face shape.

What is your desert island hair product?

Davines OI All In One Milk. It does about ten different things, so really it’s a one-stop-product.

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Davines OI All In One Milk, $38.

Multi-purpose it's the ideal detangler for when your hair is wet from the shower, a leave-in conditioner and frizz fighter on those days when nothing will calm flyaways. For spritzing into the hair before blow drying and as a heat protector, once dry it adds lightweight, shine and leaves hair silky to the touch.

What’s your best winter hair tip?

Hair gets dry in winter, with long hot showers, and going in and out of hot and cold environments. Ask your hairstylist to recommend a nourishing hair treatment to use once a week at home. My favourite at the moment is The Quick Fix Circle by Davines. This is a magic mask that works to hydrate the hair in just three minutes.


Davines The Quick Fix Circle by Davines, $20.

Designed for travel, this sachet of goodness is a shine-boosting hair mask that is stacked with hydrating hyaluronic acid to nourish, while red clay extract removes impurities and product build-up. Ideal for any hair type – it was created especially with busy women in mind. Apply to damp hair leave it on for three minutes, rinse and style.